The Chair of Architecture and Construction Dirk E. Hebel at FCL Singapore together with its partners EiABC and Bauhaus University successfully completed the first construction of a double storey dwelling unit out of straw panels world wide. The so-called Sustainable Emerging City Unit (SECU) workshop arose immense interest from nation wide media and the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction in Ethiopia. During the workshop, State Minister Heilemeskel Tefera announced to support the project to make the technology available for mass housing projects in Ethiopia. In near future, building codes need to be established, further research has to be conducted, and production facilities need to be erected. The Chair of Architecture and Construction at FCL Singapore will stay a strong partner in the years to come to achieve these goals.

New settlements are emerging in developing territories like Ethiopia almost every day, growing fast into urban conglomerates. One of the biggest problems in emerging cities is next to infrastructure measurements, available and affordable building materials and techniques for shelter production. The SECU research project is focusing on the development of innovative and low-weight construction materials for emerging cities in developing territories, based on agricultural ‘waste’ products like straw. The company STRAWTEC in Berlin developed over the last years a production system for pressed straw panels. Through heat, the natural starch in the straw is activated and functions as natural glue without any other chemical additions.

Workshop Team:

FCL: Asst. Prof Dirk E. Hebel, Marta Wisniewska, Felix Heisel

ETHZ: Martin Kugelmeier, Sarah Sassi, Tanja Studer, Christian Schwizer and Nike Himmels

EiABC: Prof. Dr. Dirk Donath, Helawi Sewnet, Belay Getachew, Ingo Oexmann, Jakob Mettler, Sami Tsegu, Nejmia Ali, Mintesinot Tekle, Samrawit Tazezew, Henok Teshome, Habtamu Regassa, Aknaw Yohannes, Seyume Weldeyesuse, Estifanos Kiflu, Mohammed Jemal, Seife Abdulsemed, Nejat Hassen, Peniel Tekle, Regbe Hagos, Fruta Haddish, Samia Ibrahim.

Bauhaus University Weimar: Prof. Bernd Rudolph, Stephan Schuetz, Timo Riechert, Michael Baer, Carolina Kolodziej, Nadine Wolz, Tereza Spindlerová, Paul Eikemeier, Mona Volkmann, Amelie Wegner, Johannes Martin, Victoria Goldmann, Anna Rodermund, Sebastian Linder.

Special thanks: D-Arch ETH Zuerich, ETH Sustainability, ETH Global, FCL Singapore, Chair of Information Architecture, Prof. Gerhard Schmitt, Strawtec Group AG Berlin, Prof. Dr. Dirk Donath and his energetic EiABC team.

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